Stress is a normal reaction to everyday academic and social demands, and is a very natural part of life. A reasonable amount of stress can even have positive side effects. For example, if you have a big paper due or bills to pay, stress might be the factor that pushes you to tackle those daily goals, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). On the other hand, experiencing major or chronic stress can be detrimental to one’s mental health or even trigger an episode of mental illness. As students, we constantly face an overwhelming amount of stress, but this does not mean we cannot manage our stress. As exams approach, many students succumb to stress, so here are some tips to manage it instead.
Remember to take time for self-care. Take the time to pause from studying and enjoy activities that keep you from dwelling on academic pressures. This can significantly decrease your stress levels. Maintaining a balance between school and and making sure your basic needs are met are key parts of coping with stress. This includes getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals, exercising, and enjoying some personal down time. So take a break, hang out with friends, go for a walk, watch an episode of your favourite TV show, have a snack or take a nap!
Here is a trick to help you manage and alleviate some of your stress. Take a five-minute break and focus on your breathing. Sit up straight, eyes closed, with a hand on your stomach. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth. Repeat. You can also find helpful guided videos for deep breathing exercises on Youtube.
Mount Allison provides many services dedicated to helping students achieve a healthy mental well-being. If you need help managing your stress, Mt. A health services can help you find long-term solutions.
Remember, stressed spelled backwards is desserts!